How To Be Hopeful Episode 20 “This Grief Thing”

August 24, 2020

(warning: contains strong language only suitable for adults)  

In this week’s episode I discuss grief and hope with co-artistic director of arts organisation Fevered Sleep David Harradine from his home in Yorkshire.

David spoke beautifully about where he found hope “on Tuesday …. I saw a rose coloured starling … about a mile from where I live in a cherry tree eating unripe cherries... so when you asked me about hope I thought about the possibility of something tiny and incredibly  fragile can have somehow got thousands and thousands of miles away from home… and that its arrival was a source of joy.. “

David spoke about the death 8 years ago of his beloved sister Julie, and of his and his parents experience of grief and other people reactions to their grief. This led to the beautiful project “This Grief Thing” in which David and his fellow co-director Sam Butler  created a space for people to come and be and talk about grief, in a shop where people could also buy t shirts and cards things saying things like “Don’t Panic if I Cry” or “Grief Equals Love” . David speaks about their intention to spread the message that the experience and expression of  grief is both normal and heathy. He speaks about the joy he found in the oak tree planted on his sisters grave, which contains her, sustains life and maintains her as a physical presence in his life.  

We discuss how hope can co-exist with grief, as can joy, happiness and anger. We talk also about the transformative power of art and imagine an alternative reality in which RuPaul appears to cave people in ancient times and tells them “Good luck and don’t fuck it up”!

There is always hope  says David, because “the default setting of the world is beauty… like the rose coloured starling… and what is bad can always be recycled into good… on an atomic or on a global level…. even bad wicked and stupid people can turn into oak trees…given time”

You can find out more about Fevered Sleep here: https://www.feveredsleep.co.uk

More soon!

Love Bernadette

My book "How To Be Hopeful" published by Elliot and Thompson is due out September 2020. This podcast series is a chance for me to chat again to some of the people who I interviewed for the book, as well as some people who I didn't have the chance to. I hope you enjoy it. 

You can find me here www.bernadetterussell.com

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